September 25, 2014
Re: NGOs united in opposition to family detention in Dilley, Karnes, and Artesia
Dear Mr. President:
We, the undersigned 168 immigrants’ rights, faith-based, civil rights, human rights, anti-violence, and criminal justice reform organizations and legal service providers, are deeply dismayed to learn that your administration intends to open a new family detention facility in Dilley, Texas, dramatically expanding the warehousing of vulnerable mothers and children fleeing Central America to seek safety in the United States. This population includes young children forcibly displaced by the same chronic and acute violence described by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a 2014 report,1 as well as their mothers, many of whom were victims of violence by intimate partners or criminal armed actors in their home countries. Many of these families experienced further violence, including kidnapping and rape, during their journey to find safety in the United States.
Family detention is wrong. In 2009, your administration wisely decided to stop detaining families at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, following years of litigation and other advocacy on the deplorable conditions of confinement and treatment of children at that facility. In summer 2014, unfortunately, you decided to return to the failed practice of family detention at facilities in Artesia, New Mexico, and Karnes County, Texas, together holding a total of more than 1,000 vulnerable mothers and children. On September 23, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced plans to open a massive 2,400-bed family detention facility in Dilley to be run by a private prison company at substantial cost.2 We urge you to reverse course immediately by closing Artesia and Karnes and cancelling plans to build in Dilley.[READ MORE HERE: 14 9 25_NGO Sign On Letter to President Obama Opposing Family Detention in Dilley Karnes and Artesia]